Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Summer Solstice Secret Garden Party

Ah, the blessed quiet of a Sunday morning with everyone else still abed. Kettle is on for another life-returning silky tea is the sexiest thing I know in the morning...pitiful pekoe punky junkie.

Ooh-la...I'm an old, tired, sore woman today...ah, but it was worth it. The great pie-in-the-sky was kind and shined (mostly) on a day they assured us would rain. A light breeze from the southwest, moist by evening. 'Twas the day of the Summer Solstice Secret Garden Party.

Imagine yourself walking through a metal-sculptured archway, lined on each side with ceramic shells and huge pots filled to spilling with a paintbox of flowers. As you walk through, you look directly at the firepit which is stacked and ready. Just beyond is the cairn that marks the grave of old Mr. Pig, our host's beloved pet. The path veers to the right, around the cedars and to the gazebo, where we were setting up to play amid more flowers, driftwood creatures and brightly-painted mobiles.

This is a garden of "rooms"...beyond the gazebo room, with its incredible flowerbeds and gentle lawn, you could choose to walk through an evergreen tunnel to the house, walk behind the gazebo into the wild woods, walk another pathway by the garage to the pond and rock garden to watch and listen to the waterfall, or you can continue around the back of the house, past P's studio, through more woods full of madronas, evergreens and the garden where the latest huge Mr. Pig lives. Turn and walk up the hill from here and you're back to the open lawn and gazebo, past the gobsmacking flowerbeds.

Our audience here is a very eclectic mix of generations, artists, writers, and passionate volunteers for community and world. A lotta ol' hippies, a touch of Goth to punctuate the Hawaiin Punch shirts, softened by the pastel summer dresses and the familiarity of this gathering. As my bass-player announced, "We've been playing this gig since 1939!"

I love when Anna can sing with me...her dreamy harmonies and being able to follow whether I slide or leap on a song like "Moonglow" make the elders melt. She was so tired and her hand was becoming numb...but she still sang the caboodle outta "The Weight"....oh yeah, my girl taking the lead! Eclectic is our mix aussi. Slipping originals in here and there, we also did a bit of Leonard Cohen (the great Canadian Velvet Growl) some Jimmy Cliff, Ella, Monk, Van Morrison, Tennessee Ernie Ford (Sixteen Tons...uh-huh) Lady Day, and even a little Tim Hardin. The trees danced and let go some leaves in their applause...the snapdragons smiled.

Let me tell you...I work my ass off at gigs...not that it's not cookin' on my spoon...but...if I'm getting up on stage, I'm goin' somewhere and I'm gonna take you with me...with voice, hands, hips...everything I've got. In my dance I conduct the band (sound doing some funny things in gazebos and gardens, so it's important to have a constant) and often leave the stage to get the dancing going. This seems to be done in some trance-like state of bliss that doesn't allow me to feel any pain. As an example, I've done a rehearsal, audition and gig before taking myself to the ER for kidney stones. Lorraine's hardcore...the show must go on! My beautiful daughter is a fruit not far from the tree.

I mean...we have to laugh at ourselves as we collapse back on her (oh how I love the memory foam) bed...each of us making noises somewhere between old-lady and seal-like in tone with each movement. After three hours of singing with an ill-fitting upper denture, I have rubbed my inner cheek raw and bleeding, and my jaw is out of alignment. Both of us have screaming joints and backs...but we're smiling 'cos we had our fix. The afternoon was beautiful, the potluck spread was as incredible as it's always been (since 1939) the breeze kept the skitters to a minimum, and an audience that clap, hollah, hug and make magic with you...what can I say that's big enough for that feeling?

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